Day 99

This past week we have had some unseasonably beautiful weather, and I saw the first crocuses. This is wonderful and cheering and also a little sad, as it always reminds me of my Grandma, whom I used to call on the phone to share the good news when I saw the first flowers of spring. So, Grandma, wherever you are- the crocuses are out. And they are beautiful. Today was a no-school day and somehow or other we didn’t get our progress photos taken.

But I can tell you this. I had occasion to run around the back yard with these dudes on one of those beautiful days I mentioned. And I had FUN. My favorite part was when they were tired and I was not. STRONGER!

Monday Progress Report

Day: 99
The scale has moved: -22 lbs (I am only 5 lbs away from a “healthy” BMI!)
The inches have changed: -19.75 inches
I feel: like Spring is coming after all!
I’ve walked: 125.23 miles and counting!


Progress Photos

Ian has a new game, where I stick my arms out and he climbs up me and then slides down. He loves it and I have to admit it’s cute and fun but I feel like I should caution him never to try this on anyone who isn’t expecting it… particularly since I once tried to jump on my babysitter, Jane, when she came to pick me up to go see the Nutcracker, and I thought for years that I had broken her back. I was probably his age at the time.

“Mommy, that’s me, climbed ALL the way up.”

I realize we have been a bit slap-dash about these this week. Next week I’m sure we’ll do better. Or else, we will do worse and you’ll look back on these and they’ll look good in comparison. Either way, really. Oh, and if you have a short attention span or you missed them yesterday, here are this week’s stats. Also, that’s about as close as I’ll be getting to New Year’s Resolutions, so have fun with that.

I want to take a moment to shout about my workout buddy Jenn, who is doing SO AMAZINGLY WELL! She is about to outstrip me on every metric which is only remarkable because she has been sick for basically the entire holiday season. Instead of using that as an excuse to curl up with as much cake as she could eat, she has been super careful about what she eats and she looks AMAZING in her New Year’s Eve photos!

I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello… 2013

Sometime between when I saw him on Christmas Day and when I went to feed and brush him the next morning, sweet Remus passed away. He was almost 18, and he’d been with me through nearly all of my adult life. I unfortunately was home alone with the kids when I found him and I had to lock myself in my room until I got over my crying jag so that Michael and I could tell Ian, together, that Goodbye had come for his Kitty Friend. He took it better than I did, of course, because children always do. I realize that not everyone is a cat person, but even if you despise cats, it’s hard to ignore the fact that 18 years is a long relationship with anything or anyone. And saying goodbye to something you’ve loved for 18 years… well, that’s hard. And it makes you think about things.

Romulus and Remus, together again. RIP sweet kitties.

I remember that when I was in my early twenties I felt as though I was terribly far from both my childhood and from old age. I don’t presume to speak for YOU, but from having talked with other people it seems I was not completely alone in feeling that way. It seemed as though time spread out before me in vast swathes- my life was not yet written, and anything could happen. Anything at all.

And then I had children. Having kids changed my entire relationship with time. Being there through the first few years of their lives made me realize how very fast I am going through those vast swathes of time I once thought lay before me. They also bring back my own childhood so vividly that I sometimes feel as though nothing but a few heartbeats or a breath separates me from either my childhood or from the time when I sincerely hope to find myself “stricken in years.”  Ian went from a newborn to a Kindergartener in a blink of the proverbial eye. Suddenly I feel time’s passage  like I’m sledding down a 90 degree drop with “OLD AGE” embossed at the bottom, and There Are No Brakes. The thing about time is that there is no getting off this ride. (Unless you’re the Doctor. Which reminds me that I am still ticked off that my DVR did not record the Christmas Special. But never mind.)

Anything can still happen, but what I would like to happen is for me to be strong well into my kids’ adulthood and hopefully well into the lives of THEIR kids. I feel very fortunate that my parents are healthy enough to enjoy my children. I would like my boys, someday, when they have fallen in love and gotten married and become awesome Daddies, to be able to have me pay forward even the smallest part of what Rama and Raba have been to them. I aspire to be a Strong Grandma.

Monday Progress Report:

I will have progress photos for you tomorrow. Sorry, we just didn’t get to it today.

I feel like I should specify here that I’m tracking my TOTAL progress. So when I say + or -, I mean vs. day 1, not since my last progress report. It helps me to keep the big picture in mind, so I don’t get discouraged on weeks where progress is smaller.

Day: 50
The scale has moved: -12 lbs
The inches have changed: -13.5 inches
I feel: Ready to move into week 8 and 2013 STRONGER and LIGHTER. Yes, we can!
I’ve walked: 59.89 miles and counting!


Transcendent dawn

I love going for my walk really early on non-work days. Because when I’m out there before people get up and start rushing around and doing all the things they do, I can look at the lights in the windows and feel like we are all in this together. Like We are all alone together in the dawn, and I can manage to forget that a lot of the time people are a-holes or mad at each other and cranky. For a little while everyone is still relaxed and happy. The day has a clean slate.

Day: 43
The scale has moved: -12 lbs
The inches have changed: -12 inches
I feel: Very positive! I think I can start the 10 lb slimdown Xtreme next week.
I’ve walked: 48.7 miles and counting!

BRING ON WEEK 7! Yes, we can!

What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter

It’s time for my weekly check in. Thank you all so much for putting up with me- the accountability of these Monday posts is really helping me to stay on track. I hope you’ll stick with me through all my thoughts today. I wrote most of this post last week, before the headlines that upset us all and which I will NOT BE DISCUSSING. I realize this may still be a little too much too soon for some people. Thank you for being here.

You may remember that I’m not going for thin here- I’m going for STRONG. There are a lot of reasons for that. I have kids to raise, and they are going to need protecting until they are big enough to protect themselves. While they are growing, I have to show them how to stand up for themselves and to stand tall- literally and figuratively. I have to teach them how to protect others when they need it. I cannot do those things if I’ve reduced myself to two dimensions in the hopes of looking like a picture out of a magazine.

I was looking for recommendations for fitness videos on YouTube and found a link to a YouTube channel (sorry, I’m not going to link it, you’ll just have to take my word for it) where the fitness instructor looks like a living skeleton with enormous breast implants. Ironically, she makes many references to “sexy curves.” Her featured video started to play and she was talking about how to resistance train without getting “bulky.” It made me a little sick. (I’m not trying to tear her down, I know she works hard and I believe she has great intentions. I hope there are people who’ve been inspired to make positive changes in their lives because of her. I’m not blaming her; I’m just using my reaction to her work to illustrate my point about something that’s way bigger than either of us.)

Why are we still, now, in 2012 (almost 2013) telling women that they should not be STRONG? Why are we telling each other that we wouldn’t want to “bulk up?” Unless you are taking steroids, trust me, nothing you do is going to make you look like the Terminator, so just get strong. Please. So you can stand up for yourself. So you can stand up for your kids. So you believe in you, not in some fantasy ideal that can’t exist in the real, solid world. It makes me mad that we are telling each other this, and it makes me mad that we are telling our daughters these things.

It makes me mad because every once in a while, a friend of mine confides that her husband is slapping her around. (And by “every once in a while,” I mean way too *&^%ing often. Oh, and if you are reading this and wondering if the most recent incident was YOUR wife, know that next time, it might be.) I’m not saying that this couldn’t happen if she was stronger, but I think that doing what it takes to be stronger gives women resources to draw on. Physical strength to protect themselves. Inner strength to help them through the aftermath. And, I hope and pray, a community of strong, loving people to whom they can turn for support. Because a woman in this position is going to need all the strength and support she can get.

On the one hand, when a friend confides in you that she’s not safe in her own home, you want to scream, “GET OUT. GET YOUR KIDS OUT. I’M GETTING MY KEYS. I’LL BE RIGHT THERE, and I’m bringing the FRICKING CAVALRY.” But, in your heart of hearts, you know that a woman who is in this position needs the power to make her own decisions. I also know that because of the way our courts work, she might not be able to protect her kids without a long and carefully thought out exit strategy. Prosecuting her abuser may be difficult or impossible. Taking legal actions to protect herself might push him to greater violence. Taking non-legal actions might cost her more than she can handle. There is nothing simple here.

So, if I could be talking about you, know this. You are loved. There are people who will help you. This is not your fault. Please read that again and again until you believe it. It’s not your fault. You are loved. And call me. I’ll get my keys. Or come on over. This is a safe place. I’m not judging you. Show up without shoes on your feet or diapers for the baby. It’s ok. I’ll make cake. You can have a cup of tea. Rest here a while.

And if you are the abuser-  I SEE YOU. Your wife is not invisible. Your secret is not safe with me, because your wife is not safe. I can and do feel compassion for you as a human being, but it stops the minute you put your hands on her or your kids. If you’re still sane enough to be ashamed of yourself, you can do the right thing. Call your pastor, call a doctor, call SOMEONE and tell them what you’ve done. Find a place to stay until your family is safe from you. Have the locks changed on yourself. Get help. Put your family first.

The rest of you- you’re the fricking cavalry. I’m appointing you to that position. Because until both the victims and the perpetrators of violence in the home know that we will come, every time, no questions asked, this will keep happening. Keep an eye on your friends, and if you see something that worries you, ask your friend if she is safe. Remind her that she’s loved. Tell her it’s not her fault. Don’t let her feel invisible. Tell her she shouldn’t feel ashamed and that you are listening. And come join me. Let’s get STRONGER. Let’s be that loving community of strong friends to whom she can turn, again and again.

Keep showing up even when she doesn’t leave. Keep showing up even if she goes back. Even if she defends him. Because if we don’t, we are sending the message that she’s right to give in. She is right to be afraid of her husband. She’s right not to leave her boyfriend, because he is so dangerous that even those of us who are safe in our own homes don’t have the guts to face him down. And we send HIM the message that he’s safe. That he can keep hitting or choking or kicking her and her kids every time he feels small or angry or stressed out, because we don’t care enough to do anything about it. We are sending the message that it is okay for him to do whatever he likes, even if that is something that makes our stomach turn. Even if it kills her.

And that is not okay. That’s not okay with me, and I know it’s not okay with you. So, welcome to the cavalry. I wish I could tell you it’s a happy place to be, but it’s not. It’s an angry, angry place where you have to make yourself look at things you’d rather turn away from. It’s a place that will make you hold your kids a little tighter and kiss your partner a little harder. It’ll make you uncomfortable. It’ll make you want to be STRONG.

Monday Progress Report:

I feel like I should specify here that I’m tracking my TOTAL progress. So when I say + or -, I mean vs. day 1, not since my last progress report. It helps me to keep the big picture in mind, so I don’t get discouraged on weeks where progress is smaller.

Day: 36
The scale has moved: -11 lbs
The inches have changed: -12 inches
I’ve walked: 41.31 miles and counting!

I am aware that not only women are the victims of domestic violence. My personal experience only extends to women abused by their male significant others, and I wrote this from my experience. If that isn’t you but you cannot trust the ones who are supposed to love you, please know that I’m talking to you, too. You are loved. You deserve to be safe. Please, please, please get help.

Ok, Week Three- LOOK OUT.

Well, week two had the biggest eating day of the year smack in the middle of it. So I cannot be pleased enough to report that I made any progress at all! Nothing gets me off track like leftover pie, but even that didn’t stand in my way! Once again, my biggest loss was around my midsection, which is great, since my waist/hip ratio has been indicating that I “may be at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease…” and a bunch of other things that really bring you down so I’m skipping them. But my point is, that measurement is headed in a healthy direction right now- AWESOME. Because I’d really like to skip all those things and just stick with “healthy.”

Sorry, no funny face today… maybe next week.

Monday Progress Report:

I feel like I should specify here that I’m tracking my TOTAL progress. So when I say + or -, I mean vs. day 1, not since my last progress report. It helps me to keep the big picture in mind, so I don’t get discouraged on weeks where progress is smaller.

Day: 15
The scale has moved: -7 lbs
The inches have changed: -8 inches
I feel: Pumped up. Really, really pumped up. And I can feel less strain on my knees, even when I’m carrying my GIANT BABY. (Seriously, he’s really big.) Ready to kick week three WHERE IT HURTS!
I’ve walked: 19.16 miles and counting!

See? Really big.

What about you? How did you do this week? Are you ready to join us? YES WE CAN!

PS- thanks to my friend Casey for passing on some pants that don’t fit her any more, or I’d still be in my room, looking for something to wear. I don’t keep stuff that doesn’t fit me any more… More on that later.

Hold the Line… Or storm the coast. Something like that.


My delicious lunch

I haven’t mentioned fitness and health in a while. That’s because, when I get discouraged, I get depressed about it and then I don’t want to talk about it. I have done a few things right. I’ve been walking regularly. I actually did use the South Beach Supercharged book’s recommendations on starting an interval walking program. That took 2 minutes off my 1 mile time over the last few months. So I’ve been moving!!!! But my discouragement and lack of interest has meant I haven’t made as much progress on my goals as I could have.

With the holidays here again it’s time to shake things up. (and maybe see some more progress!!!) I and a friend have started the 10 lb slimdown (again for me, new to her) and South Beach (back on the wagon for both of us!) this morning.

I’m so excited about stepping up my health and fitness and about doing it with my friend that I’ve been as spazzy as a yappy dog all day.

I’ve done my official weigh in, my walk, and the upper body workout. Why don’t you join us? We’re doing the 10 lb slimdown (but you could do whatever you like) which, in addition to, is available from iTunes. We’ll be doing weekly progress reports and we’re doing daily support checkins on Facebook. YES, WE CAN! I like it. 🙂

Monday Progress Report:

Day: 1
The scale has moved: 0
The inches have changed: 0
I feel: Excited! Pumped up! Awesome!!!!

JOIN US!!! Here’s my Day 1 pic. I think my hubby snapped it while I was talking, which accounts for the look on my face. It may be my reaction to him suggesting I let him take the photo without my shirt. I said no. YOU ARE SO WELCOME.


Milepost #4: Wardrobe

My milepost for today is that I went to the thrift store and bought myself summer clothes that fit right now. I had almost none, but had been resisting buying any because I thought it was a “waste.”

Let’s break that down, shall we? First of all, there is the obvious danger that I could end up NAKED. (No One Wants That. Trust me.) On top of that, the daily frustration of trying to find something… ANYTHING… to put on is very demoralizing. Even if the reason for “nothing to wear” is that I’m thinner, wearing unflattering, ill-fitting clothing every day is a perfectly good way to feel down on myself. And, as we all know, in my case, that is quickly followed by eating an entire cake. Because buying a few pairs of shorts in my current size is a “waste,” but eating myself into an early grave Makes Perfect Sense. Right.

So, I went shopping. I got a couple pants and some shirts that don’t ride up and expose my post-baby belly. (no need to thank me for that last part, it was my pleasure.)

1.7 miles